Canterbury Community Safety Partnership action plan

Our community safety action plan focuses support on areas of concern in the district.

Canterbury Community Safety Partnership (CSP) is made up of representatives from local organisations known as 'responsible authorities' who work together to help protect our district from crime and make people feel safer.

We work with organisations such as:

  • Kent Police
  • Kent Fire and Rescue Service
  • the NHS
  • Kent County Council
  • Canterbury Business Improvement District
  • local universities
  • street pastors
  • domestic violence and rape support organisations
  • housing support organisations
  • local businesses

Every year, we're responsible for completing something called a strategic assessment. The assessment looks at crime patterns and trends, anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol misuse, and reoffending.

We then use this data to write a CSP action plan that sets out our priorities for the district and how we'll achieve them.

The action plan brings organisations together to understand local concerns and implement support to tackle issues, restore communities and support residents.

We review the plan every year to make sure our priorities are relevant and that they help keep the district a safe place. 

Action plan priorities

Disrupt serious and organised crime

This includes county lines and child sexual exploitation.

Since October 2021, there has been a period of change, consolidation, and adaptation; as we came out of the pandemic and started living with Covid. There has also been increasing demand on public services against a backdrop of rising cost of living worries.

Local figures showed an increase in drug offences and possession of a weapon over the last year, but a reduction in violent crime. Over the last year we've worked with partners, making referrals and signposting to support agencies. More focus will be on supporting the community to understand, and remove, barriers to reporting offences.

We will:

  • Hold training sessions for partners on information sharing and serious and organised crime knowledge and awareness
  • Create awareness campaigns
  • Promote the Safe Zone app
  • Run community safety hubs
  • Hold neighbourhood engagement days
  • Promote crime reporting 
  • Increase youth provision

Safeguarding and focus on vulnerable people

This includes Prevent duty - which safeguards people from becoming or supporting terrorists - drugs and alcohol, hate crimes, and domestic abuse.

Covid, with its lockdowns and restrictions, has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of everyday life and behaviour. It has affected safeguarding operations, and is likely to continue to influence safeguarding activities for many years to come.

Supporting vulnerable people is a key priority for us; we work together across multiple forums to make sure people are safe.

One concern that has been highlighted is how adults with care and support needs might experience different types of, or more, abuse and neglect. This is on top of the existing demand, pressures and challenges associated with an ageing population, and how these combine to create more safeguarding enquiries and referrals.

Violence such as domestic abuse is hugely linked with violence outside of the home and family dynamic, and there is evidence to show that it is a factor in people being groomed into situations like radicalisation and terrorism - especially vulnerable or isolated people, including those in prison. 

We all have a role in protecting vulnerable children, young people and adults from being drawn into terrorism; keeping Kent, Medway and the people here safe.

The aim of the Kent and Medway Prevent team is to reduce the threat from terrorism, radicalisation and extremism. Vulnerable people are the most likely to be coerced by gangs to carry out work, including involvement in county lines, drugs deliveries and distribution. We have worked with partners to make referrals and signpost to support agencies.

We will:

  • Explore options around being part of a hospital pathway team
  • Use a new safeguarding reporting system so we can get more detailed analysis
  • Champion domestic abuse project work and referrals
  • Work with Viola House who will deliver domestic abuse support in the community
  • Support Rising Sun domestic violence and abuse service, who want to work with the Children and Family Court Advisory Service on domestic abuse and child contact; developing a survivor forum and volunteer services, and securing funding for young person counselling services and Independent Domestic Violence Advocates 
  • Offer training for our partners on victims and perpetrators 
  • Raise awareness and confidence in spotting the signs of domestic abuse, reporting it and referring concerns about radicalisation
  • Make sure our communications team know about the latest domestic abuse campaigns

Support young people

This includes higher and further education, intervention and referral to prevent harm, and Local Children's Partnership Groups (LCPGs). 

Covid has caused fundamental changes to the lives of children and young people. The Public Health England COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing surveillance report suggests that while evidence shows that some children and young people generally coped well during the pandemic (March to September 2020), children and young people with certain characteristics like:

  • those who are disadvantaged economically
  • females, and
  • those with pre-existing mental health needs

seem to have experienced greater negative impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.

Children and young people are disproportionately more likely to be victims of crime, particularly the most serious crimes. They often experience these crimes in their homes, schools and communities; in places, and sometimes by people, that should keep them safe.

We work with young people through youth inclusion programmes, schools, colleges and universities to promote awareness of the risks and impact it can have on their lives.

LCPGs bring a number of partner organisations together to improve outcomes for children and young people in Kent. They work collaboratively to understand and meet the needs of their local residents. The LCPGs have yearly district partnership priorities, an annual plan, and access to Early Help grant funding to support any improvements.

We will:

  • Support mental health drop-in sessions in universities
  • Support and signpost safe places for social interaction
  • Increase awareness that young people involved in criminal activities can also be victims of grooming or coercion
  • Revisit a knife amnesty and include the voices of young people in a project around Serious Violence Duty - this is crime involving anything from assault to murder
  • Create location assessments to identify any spaces or places where children and young people might come to harm

Night-time economy and violence

This includes violence against women and girls, and Serious Violence Duty - crime involving anything from assault to murder.

Canterbury’s nightlife covers a range of activities including pubs and bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, events and retail which create a vibrant and attractive city to visit. However, excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs can have health implications on people, as well as placing significant economic impact on services like hospitals, police, the fire service and ambulances.

As licensing authorities, councils play an important role in regulating the night-time economy. A clear vision for the night-time, underpinned by a statement of licensing policy, can go a long way to setting the right tone, but it is the partnership approaches which have been held up as being most effective.

The tragic killing of Sarah Everard on 3 March 2021 highlighted concerns about women and girls' safety in public places. To provide reassurance, the government announced extra money for the Safer Streets Fund.

Canterbury’s Purple Flag status was awarded for the 10th year in 2022. We continue to maintain a strong partnership amongst those working in the evening and night-time economy – a partnership which has strengthened through the pandemic.

During the past year, Canterbury Business Improvement District has helped secure £564,000 of Safer Streets round 4 funding through joint working with us; helping to fund a Zero Tolerance project, two new Refuge Points to complement the existing 12, student safety campaigns, anti-spiking stop-tops and Best Bar None accreditation and awards ceremonies.

The Safe Zone App is free for all students and staff. It operates across all campuses and facilities and has geofences - a virtual boundary - with the city's connected routes and our CCTV control room.

We will:

  • Promote safety campaigns including Zero Tolerance, Ask Angela, the Student Safe Taxi scheme and Connected Routes
  • Offer bystander training
  • Run targeted night-time operations
  • Run night-time economy Safety Hubs
  • Promote the Safe Zone app
  • Enter the Best Bar None awards
  • Clear up rape myths during the court process
  • Offer Violence Against Women and Girls training for businesses

Disrupt anti-social behaviour

This includes environmental offences.

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) can make victims’ lives a living nightmare, causing stress, misery and despair. It can also often be the first step in serious crimes, including knife crime and gang activity.

ASB also has an impact on communities as a whole, as it can often lead to the areas being neglected or degraded. The standard of living in an area is negatively affected, which destroys the spirit and pride of communities and makes people feel neglected and powerless. People begin to move from the area and businesses close down.

The Home Office commissioned an ASB review this year with the expectation of an action plan for partners and responsible authorities to implement.

Our environment is one of the most valuable resources we have, with rural communities in particular relying on it for business, farming and tourism. Organised criminals attack rural environments in a variety of ways; from large scale illegal dumping to heritage crime, which has negative impacts on surrounding wildlife, livestock and communities.

We will:

  • Support and promote good neighbour campaigns
  • Explore opportunities for 'amnesty skips' - where people can hand in weapons or unwanted items - at key locations
  • Support intervention by police in waste crimes
  • Support Freshers Fairs and student-themed information 
  • Run targeted operations
  • Run pop-up Safety Hubs
  • Tackle graffiti